Below is a summary of how you can learn more about the feasibility seeing Cuba for yourself soon – first from a legal perspective. Then a partial list of travel agencies & tour operators with experience bringing U.S. travelers to Cuba.
I. How easy is it to get into Cuba, and what is the legal situation?
In the past few years some 200,000 Americans have gone to Cuba annually. Many of them went with U.S. Treasury licenses, many others did not. Generally, getting a visa from Cuba is not a problem, including for travelers from the U.S. The U.S. side is more complicated. For more information,
See Know Before You Go Restrictions on Travel to Cuba (PDF) from the Center for Constitutional Rights (Updated Feb. 2007)
For other and hopefully current information on developments concerning U.S. regulation of travel to Cuba, see http://www.ccr-ny.org/v2/legal/cuba/cuba.asp and http://www.nlg.org/cuba (must be all lower case). The latter includes information on the “Wall of Lawyers” referral network to assist U.S. persons being hassled for alleged travel expenditures re Cuba, and form responses to U.S. Treasury/OFAC letters demanding information and threatening fines against U.S. travelers to Cuba.
Although it still appears to be true as late February, 2004, that no one who has made a timely request for a U.S. administrative hearing after receiving notice of a proposed fine has ever had a hearing or had to make any payment, in late October 2003, three administrative law judges (ALJs) began issuing pre-hearing orders to Respondents (alleged Cuba travelers/spenders) who had just been sent Order Instituting Proceeding (OIP) notices from OFAC. It is also true that OFAC has attempted to force such Respondents into settling their cases, by making payments as low as $1,000, and telling them that otherwise, they will be presumed to be guilty and their only other option is to try to prove their innocence at a hearing which will be scheduled in the Washington, D.C. area. Unless stopped by effective congressional action, an affirmative lawsuit and injunction, or a change in direction by the administration, such hearings may begin as early as the Spring or Summer, 2004, and a number of cases are being litigated at the pre-hearing stage.
U.S. licenses may be available for specialty tours or conferences, or for persons with academic, journalist & other credentials, as well as for people visiting family, for religious reasons, etc. Many sister-city groups go based on humanitarian licenses. For Milwaukee-Nuevitas and Madison-Camaguey, see their pages on this website. For a broader list of U.S.-Cuba sister-city relationships, contact www.uscsca.org. (For a list of U.S. NGO’s with Cuba ties see http://uscuba.home.igc.org/ngodirectory.htm.) You can see & search many upcoming licensed cultural tours/professional events on the website of Marazul (below), which is probably the largest U.S. based travel agency organizing such travel. A list of upcoming conventions in Cuba, see the link under Cuban based agencies, below.
II. Here are links to some of the agencies specializing in handling travel to Cuba, based in the U.S., Canada, and Cuba:
http://www.cubanow.org/ (Trips that specialize in historic preservation, planning, sustainable development, and architecture, among others.)
Global Exchange “Reality Tours” (a major licensed provider of quality educational tours) http://www.globalexchange.org/tours/auto/byCountry.html
FCO/Pastors for Peace (trips on religious, Afro-Cuban, medical & solidarity themes) visit the website at http://www.ifconews.org/
The Student Exchange between Cuba and America, Madison, WI http://www.seca.org/
SOL ANDINO TRAVEL – FRIENDSHIP TOURS http://www.cubafriendship.com/
Other tourism info from Cuba (in English):
Categories: Cuban Economy & Co-Ops